Tyson Fury And Oleksandr Usyk Land In Saudi Arabia – Let The Madness Begin!

May 13, 2024
2 weeks
Tyson Fury walks through the hotel lobby with father John

You can always trust John Fury to lower the tone. Barely a few hours had gone by since Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk and their large entourages had touched down in Saudi Arabia before Fury Sr. got himself in an ugly altercation.

Inside a packed lobby in Riyadh during the pre-fight media day, Fury Sr. got a bit carried away. He leaned into a group of Usyk staff and proceeded to scream in their faces before squaring up to one man and head-butting him.

It left John Fury with blood streaming down his forehead and everyone else in the room stunned. A few more pushes, shoves and shouts followed before inevitably calming down.

When Tyson Fury emerged from a side room, he looked equally surprised at the scenes. He even looked a little embarrassed.

At any other time in any other place in the ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, John Fury would have been arrested and sent to jail (no charges have been filed).  

Welcome to fight week!

History Awaits Fury And Usyk

On Saturday night, history will be made as boxing crowns its first undisputed heavyweight world champion of the four-belt era. The two fighters creating that history: the WBC and lineal champion Fury and the unified IBF, WBA, and WBO belt holder Usyk.

There is a strong undercard to look forward to as well. Cruiserweight star Jai Opetaia aims to become a two-time world champion in his rematch with Mairis Briedis in the co-main event. That will follow another IBF world title fight as super-featherweight champion Joe Cordina defends his strap against Anthony Cacace.

In the days leading up to fight night, there will be more moments to increase the anticipation. The Grand Arrivals will take place on Tuesday, followed by an open workout and a chance for fans to get a glimpse of the fighters on Wednesday. A final press conference is scheduled for Thursday before the official weigh-ins on Friday.  

Throughout the week, legends and superstars of combat sports will fly into the Saudi capital by private jet to get involved in the festivities. Perhaps the face most fans will be looking out for is Anthony Joshua. No strange to Saudi having fought there four times, AJ will be eyeing up a fight with the winner as he plots his own path back to world titles.

It’s unclear whether Joshua will be ringside but given his close ties with Saudi boxing chief Turki Alalshikh, it would be a surprise if he’s not present.

Fury Vows To Take All The Belts

Alalshikh will officially be neutral for Saturday’s main event, but you could forgive him for secretly rooting for Fury. A win for the British fighter could set up arguably the most lucrative fight in boxing history against Joshua, which would almost certainly be held in Riyadh.

Before that, though, there is fight week to enjoy and we can expect more antics from Team Fury over the next few days.

Tyson Fury himself appears focused, commenting on the head-butting incident: “I didn’t see anything, I was in the room doing interviews, but I’m not here for all that, I’m here to get the job done and go home and rest.”

With Usyk a quiet man of few words, much of the theatrics will be from Team Fury, and the WBC champion got the ball rolling at Monday’s first press conference.

Fury and Usyk have expressed respect for each other but that didn’t prevent the Gypsy King from getting animated, shouting across the top table at Usyk: “I already relieved one Ukrainian [Wladimir Klitschko] of all the belts and I’ll relieve that idiot [Usyk] of all the belts I gave him!”

Usyk ‘Prefers To Speak In The RIng’

Turning his focus to Usyk, Fury continued: “You know what’s coming, you’re getting smashed to pieces, sausage. You’ve beaten the rest of them, but you’ve not beaten Tyson Fury yet.

“Look at him, his heart’s pounding now … the little p***y with an earing. You’re getting knocked spark out!”

Usyk responded in his typically reserved way by insisting: “I don’t speak more. I prefer to speak in the ring on Saturday.”

It was standard pre-fight fare but it did at least ramp up the tension towards the end of a build-up that has been largely cordial.

With Saudi Arabia set to provide the literal and metaphorical fireworks as a backdrop to this historic occasion, let the madness continue all the way to fight night.